I wrote a press release yesterday with optimism in my heart. The first paragraph read:
"Eleven starving horses that have been living an abominable existence for far too long will finally see the light of day again, today, May 3, 2016. They have been locked inside a dark, dank barn and neglected for so long that their hooves were over a foot long and curling like elves shoes. Their skin is dry, their feet are rotting, many of them are emaciated, and five of them have been hanging in makeshift slings from the rafters, their feet barely touching the ground. Four more were found locked in stalls with no hay or water."
As of 11:00 this morning I had to rewrite it. My heart sank and I cried. The first paragraph of our press release now reads:
“Six starving horses that have been living an abominable existence for far too long will finally see the light of day again, today, May 3, 2016. With heavy heart I grievously report that five were so severely neglected that there was no hope of saving them. This is the hardest part of what we do. Eleven horses lived in squalor for at least three years, admitted by their previous owner. Today we found poor quality hay just two feet out of reach of some of them. They had no water. Knowing what time we were coming today, this man made no attempt to put any hay or water in the stalls - not even just 'for show.'"
Just a few days ago, I received a call from the Clarion County Sheriff's office asking for assistance. Already responsible for the care of 25 horses, and knowing the cost to vet, and rehab this many horses would quickly become thousands of dollars - and not knowing where the extra money would come from - I never hesitated to help. When you hear any living creature can be forced to exist under these circumstances, how can you say no? I have faith that our community will help us bring them back to good health.
After coming to terms with my anger over the five that didn’t survive, I realized that there is still an inspiring story of courage that has a lesson for all of us - don’t give up! These horses have been at their lowest point for years and they survived. The Palomino stallion - the only survivor that was suspended from the rafters in a sling made from rubber, chain and rope - survived solely because of his spirit.
Bringing these horses back from severe neglect is a daunting undertaking. They will need more frequent hoof care to carefully shorten and shape their hooves so that they can walk comfortably again. They all will need dental care, wound care for the “bedsores” on their hips, and skin care as they all have dermatitis due to poor nutrition. The three stallions will need to be gelded and we will need to secure more hay very soon to get them back on the road to good weight.
I knew this was going to be a tough day. I didn’t know how emotionally challenging it would be until I walked inside the barn, and then had the repugnant job of taking photographs of the five dead horses to provide evidence of the neglect they all endured.
Bev Dee, Bright Futures Farm
Candy (now named Inga) and Dolly (now named Journey) have been adopted by Kelly and Colin of Pennsylvania. As you can see they are close to being at at an appropriate weight for their size.
Jet has been adopted by Connie, the woman who discovered them and who is responsible for saving their lives.
Lady (now named Addie) has been adopted by Connie's daughter and son-in-law, Rene and Ryan.
Tanner has had many vet visits and is being treated for ulcers. He's had two gastroscopies and is due for a third in September. He is also due to be gelded in September if his ulcers have healed.
Cider just went to his foster home today. He needs more one on one attention and some schooling. He's very excitable and a bit pushy. He has gained weight nicely and can be gelded within the month. Because Cider is 18 years old, he will have to have a closed surgery. That is safer for an older stallion. Approximate cost is between $600 and $800 at the hospital.
If you would like to contribute toward the ongoing care of Tanner and Cider, we would greatly appreciate it. Their recovery has been very expensive. Each of Tanner's visits is approximately $1000 because of the cost of the gastroguard. He's had two gastroscopies and is due to have a third one in September. He's been on two regimens of gastro-guard so far. Each regimen consists of 30 tubes at a cost of $30 per tube, plus the clinic visit and the gastroscopy.
All horses are doing remarkably well considering what they've been through and we are so grateful that they were all strong of mind and body and survived. A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed toward their care, prayed for them and sent us many notes and good thoughts. We read every single letter, note and card. Your support is heartwarming.
Bev Dee, Bright Futures Farm